Edwin Yoder: “Despite the warnings of C. S. Lewis and others, I am left echoing Eve’s question: if the beasts [can eat of the Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil], why not man? Why, having armed his new creatures with intellectual curiosity, should their thirst for intellectual adventure become the paramount sin and its exercise a cosmic catastrophe? This prohibition seems especially odd because it contradicts what we know of Milton the lifelong scholar and polymath.”
“In their mandate to be awake to life, and to awaken others, the sympathies of artists and activists seemingly align. But in the activist context, awake becomes ‘woke’ — not a personal practice of observation and a transmutation within form, but a communal decision in service of a desired change. This ‘in service of’ is the sticking point for artists.” (At the end of that road lies Socialist Realism.) Arielle Angel looks back at her many attempts to unite art and activism on equal terms — and her questions about whether, in the current moment, the former is a luxury she should give up in favor of the latter.
“It would be difficult to think of a field that is more old-power than the arts. As the former executive director of a nonprofit theater company, I know that firsthand. Many arts organizations–particularly in the performing arts–are usually headed by an artistic director, music director, or general manager who has almost total control over the artistic content that is produced, and that artistic content is then marketed to the public by the managerial staff who has little or no say on these artistic selections. Closely connected with this old-power/new-power dynamic is the way that technology has been embraced in these organizations (or not).”
Despite the wealth of information we have about ancient Greek musical theory, actually transcribing the musical notation that has survived, let alone working out practical performance issues, has been a problem unsolved for centuries. Oxford classicist Armand D’Angour writes about the recent advances and discoveries that have led to his five-years-long-and-counting project to find, transcribe, and perform the surviving repertoire of ancient Hellenic song.
His great innovation was to move beyond elegant, swashbuckling swordplay to show real bodies showing the sweat and blood of combat and real, fallible people making missteps.
The crux of the case, brought by the heir of the art dealer who owned the Adam and Eve paintings before World War II, was whether the Dutch government had the right to sell the works on when it recovered them post-1945. The U.S. 9th Circuit Court of Appeals decided, basically, that it would not second-guess the Kingdom of the Netherlands.
“It’s a testament to the sophistication of mobile devices that the strengths and weaknesses of the films have little to do with technical issues. Several of the movies look amateurish or are just plain bad, but none because of image quality or outdated effects. The flaws are artistic.” Brian Seibert reports from the first Mobile Dance Film Festival.
Christine Riccio, the most popular of the bunch: “I was reading a lot of books, and I had no one to discuss them with. I was like, ‘I’ll be lucky if I ever get 500 subscribers over here.'” She now has more than 400,000. Reporter Concepción de León meets Riccio and several of her fellows at VidCon (yes, it’s sort of like ComicCon, but for videomakers).
A member of the company told The Stage she was contacted by a woman through an Edinburgh Facebook group, who said she had two rooms available at £400 each and a friend had a further three rooms. The theatre company paid the money and a deposit up front. After this, they received a message from the woman who said she was in Ukraine and her bag had been stolen, asking the theatre company to transfer her money to come back to the UK. At this point, the company realised they had been scammed, and contacted Action Fraud, which is investigating the case.
Giovanni Simone Mayr (1763-1845) is hardly the sexiest name in opera history, but he became exactly that between the hours of 4 and 8 p.m. on July 29 at Purchase College — make that 4:35 p.m. Mayr’s Medea in Corinto needed time to warm up.
The group’s ever-expanding annual report – today’s release, “Inequality in 1,100 Popular Films,” covers the top 100 movies each year from 2007 through 2017 – shows no significant statistical improvement in the representation of women, people of color, LBGT characters or characters with disability over the past decade.
A 13th century bible, one of a handful of books which survived intact when the library of Canterbury Cathedral was broken up at the time of the Reformation, is back in the building after almost 500 years.
“Award-winning Slung Low theatre company is known for staging epic outdoor theatre productions around the UK. Now it’s decided to cut back on the number of shows it makes and set up a ‘community college’ teaching astronomy, cooking and decorative blacksmithing. Artistic director Alan Lane said it was ‘the most useful and most interesting’ thing they could do with their subsidy.”
Elisabeth Vincentelli meets the 525 performers (and even more dummies) at the Vent Haven International Ventriloquist Convention, held at a Kentucky Holiday Inn near the Cincinnati airport and (not incidentally) the world’s only museum dedicated to the art form.
Felix Salmon: “The easy answer is: It was selling dollars for a dime, and you can’t do that for very long until you go bust. … The company burned cash until it didn’t have any cash left to burn and fizzled out. But in the spirit of Chesterton’s fence, it’s worth looking at the thesis behind MoviePass, and to try to make a distinction between the calculated risks that just didn’t pan out, on the one hand, and the crazy ideas that were never going to work, on the other.”
“Boxes of material deposited at the British Library and seen by The Times contain dozens of unused script ideas, including two sketches written for Monty Python and the Holy Grail.” (The early scripts had far more material than could fit in a feature film.) “One is about a Wild West bookshop and another features an amorous Pink Knight.” (includes transcripts of sketches)
“A federal appeals court has confirmed a lower court’s ruling that two contested 16th-century oil-on-panel paintings by Lucas Cranach the Elder will not be returned to the heir of the legendary Dutch Jewish dealer Jacques Goudstikker … The July 30th ruling seems to put an end to an 11-year court battle over the Nazi-looted artworks, and means that they will stay in California at the Norton Simon Museum, on view to the public.”
“After months of turmoil, including the firing of its chief curator and the announced departure of its current director, the Museum of Contemporary Art in Los Angeles has chosen its next director: Klaus Biesenbach, chief curator at large at New York’s Museum of Modern Art and director of its experimental satellite space, MoMA PS1.” (Biesenbach’s career at MOMA has not been without controversy of its own.)
The cliché of fans of these genres being lonely geeks is clearly mistaken. No doubt they have difficulties with relationships like everyone else. But it apparently helps to have J.R.R. Tolkien or George R.R. Martin as your unofficial couples counselor.